Thursday, April 29, 2010

More miles and more Desert Blossoms

Photo of cactus blossoms by Roland Lee
PHoto of Desert Blossoms in April 2010 by Roland Lee
My evening hikes are getting longer and longer and the view is getting better and better. Here are a couple of photos from the T-Bone Mesa trail above St. George.

A workshop with master watercolorist Osral Allred

Artist and teacher Osral Allred shows one of his paintings at a workshop sponsored by the Southern Utah Watercolor Society in St. George, UT
There are jillions of artists who paint in watercolor, but there are only a handful who can really be called "watercolorists." Osral Allred, from Spring City Utah is one of them. The Southern Utah Watercolor Society brought him down for a two-day workshop this week and we enjoyed his wisdom, humor, and skill. Os is one of the first watercolorists who influenced me and I still think he is one of the best painters in the medium. His sense of design and use of white space are key elements in his work which often features old tractors and train cars. He was taught by another master, Gael Lindstrom, and in turn taught for many years in the art department of Snow College.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Desert Blossoms

I've been walking in the desert each evening before sundown, soaking in the peace and serenity of the land. The frequent rains have made the desert blossom. Every inch of sand is covered with tiny yellow flowers and the cactus blooms are starting their show. What a joy to live in this beautiful land!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hike in Snow Canyon

Artist Roland Lee in Snow Canyon Utah

The sun finally came out with a vengeance, so I decided to hit the trails. On Saturday I did a little exploring in Snow Canyon, and soon discovered half the planet had the same idea. The parking areas were full, but once out on the trails it wasn't too bad. I ambled up the Whiterock, Butterfly, and Hidden Pinion Trails stopping to photograph the wildflowers and do a little sketching. I came back with a sunburned neck, sand in my shoes, and a happy smile.

This long snake greeted my arrival to Snow Canyon. He didn't seem too concerned about me, and since he didn't have a rattle, I wasn't worried about him either.

Wildflowers in Snow Canyon
A Yellow carpet of wildflowers covered the sand beneath the red cliffs.

Roland Lee sketch of Snow CanyonLeft: A quick study of "the Knuckles" on the West side of Snow Canyon. Below: Carrie, this sketch is for you. When you draw yuccas, pay attention to the light areas against the dark leaves. This is what gives them the characteristic look. Don't make them look like pin cushions.

Roland Lee sketchbook drawing of Yuccas in Snow Canyon

Roland Lee painting of Yuccas in Snow Canyon

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Art Presentation at Desert Hills High School

It seems like I'm making the rounds of the high schools lately. Today art teacher Mary Kerksiek invited me to stop by Desert Hills High School during lunch and talk about my artwork to a specially selected group of students. Chosen based on academic skills and leadership, these students participate in varied activities that broaden their education and expand their thinking. They are studying about "Rock Star Artists of the Red Rocks" in preparation to their hitting the rocks with sketchbook journals of their own next month. I showed a short powerpoint about my techniques of sketching in the field, and how I get my inspiration from the landscape. I passed around a couple of my sketchbooks and fielded questions about my career as an artist. I was very impressed by the program, the leaders, the students, and the school facilities at the new Desert Hills High School.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Southern Utah Landscape Paintings of Jimmie Jones

Cathedral Mountain by artist Jim JonesA new exhibit opened tonight at the St. George Art Museum, featuring the stunning paintings of Jimmie Jones, as well as paintings by Margaret LaFranc and a unique installation called "Upside Down." Deborah Reeder and her staff at the museum put together another outstanding exhibit. As a landscape painter, I am always drawn to good landscapes, but Jim Jones is in a league by himself. Painting from his hand-built studio, high on a rocky ridge near Zion National Park, Jones has spent a lifetime putting his own stamp on images of the southern Utah terrain. This show contains many new pieces created especially for Southern Utah University's new art museum, along with numerous paintings from private collections. Filling the upstairs exhibit space, these landscapes literally take your breath away. Bigger-than-life images of the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park literally suck you in as sunlight and shadow dance magically across the canvases. Jimmie passed away in late 2009 leaving a legacy of over 400 paintings of Zion National Park and 150 of the Grand Canyon.
Artist Jim Jones' house in Rockville Utah
I had a chance to visit artist Jimmie Jones' home recently located high above the town of Rockville. The view from his multiple balconies is unbelievable. At his death, he willed the home to Southern Utah University in support of their new art museum.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Olympus High School Benefit Art Show

Marquee sign in front of Olympus High School advertised the Roland Lee Art ShowIt was a mixture of fine art and athletics this week as I was a guest at Olympus High School in Salt Lake City. We set up a one-man show of my originals and giclees in their fabulous "Art Space" gallery room and invited parents, boosters, and community members to stop by. A large percentage of the sales were donated back to the school and we were blessed that a number of collectors made purchases. The event was organized by my nephew Mike Smith, who is the head football coach at Olympus. While there I was invited by art teacher Jeremy Peterson to guest-teach a couple of the classes. It was fun seeing some outstanding artwork as students in the Olympus High AP Art class presented some of their portfolio pieces. I presented a powerpoint demonstration on the importance of sketching from life and the process I use in working my drawings into finished paintings back at the studio.

Roland Lee benefit art show at Olympus High School Art Space Gallery
Mr. Peterson also invited me to do a painting demonstration for students and guests in the watercolor class, and we worked together on creating some wonderful wet-into-wet watercolor skies. It was a pleasure to meet many of the teachers, administration, and students at Olympus High School and to visit with a new generation of artists who will surely be making an impact on the Utah art scene in the near future.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April Plein Air Painting Workshop in Zion and Bloomington

Roland Lee painting workshop at old Bloomington on the grounds of We concentrated on painting outdoors during the April watercolor painting workshop sponsored by "A Passion for Painting" Art Studio. After a morning of instruction in the classroom the group took our sketchbooks out to the site of historic Bloomington where a small community of pioneers built a little town in the 1800's. The old town is gone now except for a few adobe structures, the stone footings of the old schoolhouse, and the wonderfully restored Blake Home. We enjoyed the spring blossoms, green grass, and warm sunshine as we studied how to identify value, edges, and shapes in nature.

Roland Lee watercolor painting workshop in Zion National Park
Friday we packed our travel kits and headed for a day in Zion National Park, where everyone got a good taste of plein air painting in watercolor. With painting sessions at the Court of the Patriarchs, and along the river at Temple of Sinawava, we came up with some fun drawings and paintings. We concluded the day with an outdoor "art show" as we lined our work up along a big fallen cottonwood tree and shared thoughts about the paintings and our experiences in the canyon.

See more photos from Roland Lee's Watercolor workshop in Zion National Park

Monday, April 05, 2010

Sunshine and Good Times Come Together at the St. George Art Festival

We enjoyed great sunny weather and huge crowds at the St. George Art Festival over the weekend. All in all it was a success with good painting sales and pleasant visits with old friends, new collectors, and most of my grandkids. For our family it's a tradition to all congregate in downtown St. George on Easter weekend for the art show.

My double booth wasn't fancy but I got a lot of paintings on display. If you look closely you'll see a Purchase Award ribbon (my favorite award.)

My son Jon and his adoring children

Alyssa holds her new little sister Becca who decided to arrive in time for the festivities. You can see Becca's reaction to my artwork. Hmmmm.

Snow Cones were the big hit for kids (Tiger's blood was the favorite flavor.)

St. George's flowers in the Spring are a welcome relief for those arriving from the snowy north.

Sidewalk chalk murals were just some of the many activities for children at the St. George Art Festival.